Storms, earthquakes and droughts have only become more extreme as global temperatures and sea levels have risen at an alarming rate.
As Hurricane Matthew devastates hundreds of lives, the issue of global warming is being brought back to the forefront of the minds of scientists, politicians and displaced families. Hurricane Matthew has left people across the globe wondering why a storm of this strength has hit at this time of the year.
It can be easy for people to acknowledge that climate change is happening and simply go on about their day without another thought, even if a natural disaster like Hurricane Matthew has directly affected you or people in your life. TWU Psychology Ph.D. student Julia Besser is part of a group called Citizens’ Climate Education whose mission is, according to their official website, “to empower individuals to educate elected officials, community leaders, and the general public about climate change and climate change solutions.” Besser states: “In other countries, where indigenous populations are living on little islands, the water is rising and they’ve already started to have to move whole cultures of people away from their homeland because of this. We can sit at home and watch our sit-com and not think about that.”
Students often feel they want to help combat climate change, but are maybe too busy with classes or their job to make any real difference. However, making a difference can be as simple as contacting your local representative. Besser advises fellow students to: “Take five minutes, get a piece of paper out of the printer and write down four sentences about why you think [climate change] is a problem. Then take another 45 seconds to address it, put a stamp on it and send it in the mail. Politicians want realness, and a student voice is really powerful.”